Only in America, was my response to the New York Post story referred to by Rabbi Grossman. Could one ever imagine the same scene playing itself out in a European subway? Aside from it being a truly heartwarming story of how a Muslim saved a Jew from Christian anti-Judaism, the happening highlights just how unique American religious relationships are vis-à-vis the rest of the world.
The story is basically proof of the randomness of religious discrimination in America. What strikes me is just how easily any of the roles or elements of story could theoretically be interchanged. We should never fool ourselves: Anti-Semitism still exists in this country. But Rabbi Grossman is wrong when she suggests, “that the story is both warm and chilling. It reminds us that anti-Semitism is prevalent not only in Europe and throughout the Arab world, but also remains a constant here in the good old US of A.”
Anti-Semitic acts on American soil should never be confused with the rampant and calculated anti-Semitism that infects Europe. The Post story shows us how anti-Semitism has gone from a premeditated evil to something so random that it can be used as the backdrop for a Holiday story of rapprochement between Muslim’s and Jews! People who read the story were not shocked or concerned of a major outbreak of anti-Semitism in New York. As concerned as Rabbi Grossman is, something tells me that New York Jewry is not preparing for the outbreak of a major pogrom on the West Side of Manhattan. What got the story on the front page was not the news that there still exist a few hoodlums on the subways of NYC, but that there are more than a few good and decent human beings that live in this country.